With just four teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs, it leaves 26 other teams already beginning their offseason. After dissembling their squad by getting rid of Paul Millsap, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague over the last couple years, the Atlanta Hawks finished with a 24-58 record this season, tying them with the Dallas Mavericks for third-worst in the league.
The lone star-quality player in Atlanta and perhaps a piece the organization was set on building a new team around going forward, Dennis Schroder, expressed his disappointment with the outcome of his season at a press conference for the German Basketball Federation.
“I will talk to the general manager and owner of the team and we will talk about the organization and what they want to do in the future,” said Schroder, also noting that his agent would be meeting with the team.
In 67 games this season, the 24-year old German point guard averaged 19.4 points per game to go along with 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds. Schroder has blossomed into a quality young guard in this league after struggling to get things going in his first two years behind Jeff Teague. This year’s numbers show improvement from last year for Schroder even as he shouldered a heavier load, with him scoring another 1.5 points per game while turning the ball over less than in his 2016-2017 campaign.
“Of course I have my thoughts and my friends with other teams. For example, Indiana wouldn’t be too bad, Milwaukee wouldn’t be too bad. Those are the two teams where you can say the organization is going in the right direction,” said Schroder.
The Milwaukee Bucks bolstered their backcourt by trading for veteran guard Eric Bledsoe in exchange for center Greg Monroe and draft picks. In his first season with the deer, Bledsoe put up numbers comparable to Schroder, and the two receive very similar salaries. Schroder has two years remaining on his contract extension, signed with Atlanta in 2016, putting him in the books for about $15 million per year. Bledsoe has just one year left on his deal and will make $15 million next season.
Bledsoe’s 17.8 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game with Milwaukee came with a lower usage rate, as he took just 13 shots per game compared to Schroder’s 17. With Giannis being such a dynamic weapon on offense and players like Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari Parker needing their touches too, it is likely that Schroder would be able to take shots he is more comfortable with in Milwaukee. This would likely result in him posting lesser, but more efficient, numbers in Milwaukee.
Schroder shot just 43.6% from the field and a dismal 29% from three-point range while Bledsoe finished 47.6% from the field and 34.9% from deep. The Hawks guard has also represented a liability on the other end of the floor. Even though Bledsoe struggled to stop Terry Rozier in the playoffs, he is more athletically capable on defense. The only real bonus of having Schroder instead of Bledsoe is his youth, as he is four years younger than the 28-year old Bledsoe. Milwaukee already has plenty of important roster decisions to make this summer, and mixing Dennis Schroder in may not seem like the type of “upgrade” the team needs.
Per international basketball reporter David Hein, Schroder has a good relationship with Pacers star Victor Oladipo, and he may prefer Indiana as his top destination if he directly demands a trade out of Atlanta this summer. Hein also reported that Schroder made remarks about not wanting to spend his prime near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. It will be interesting to see how the Hawks’, Bucks’, and Pacers’ front offices react to the young guard’s statements as he and his agents go through their meetings this week.